I'm currently reading 1 Samuel. I'm working on making it cover to cover. I remarked to someone at work the other day that i'm working on doing a cover to cover as well and they mentioned that they have a hard time getting through Leviticus and some of the books like that. I can imagine why. Some of the books aren't exactly easy to get through. Because some of the stuff is just like "what the world.. why is this in here? What does 'don't boil a hefer in its mother's milk got to do w/ anything today?" I know i've asked stuff like that before.
Often times i'm reading it and i read it like a story. Whether i can think of relevance today, i just read it nonetheless. Also, there has to be a grace for it. Right now, there just seems to be a grace to read through the Bible for me. Perhaps because if nothing else, i'll at least have it in my head and when people ask about it or need a reference, i'll have an answer... making me sound like really good and cool and like i learned something.
How can i say all this? Because I've asked the questions of what the world is the Bible saying? It also depends on your purpose for reading it, or at least i think so. for instance, the NASB isn't really a good one to do memory verses off. For that, i might recommend the NIV or NKJV... something that flows better. The NASB is better for word for word translation. That might be a better study one. I've never read "The Message" Bible yet. Don't know if i ever will. That version is better if your wanting to read it more for story book form. But definitely not good for studying. For true studying, try learning the original languages of Hebrew/Aramaic (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament). It will take time and dedication. I have yet to learn the original languages.
All in all, i've wrestled with a lot of issues like this. There are times where it SEEMS that the Bible is contradicting itself. But when you truly read it, its just confirming everything it says. I just ask the Holy Spirit to speak to me about this stuff and chew on it, meditate on it... seek the Father's heart for what He's saying through it all. Remember that this is a book that has withstood the test of time. We're talking milleniums here. Written over almost 1,500 years, by 25+ scribes, many of whom have never met one another, yet the message is still the same: Jesus reigns!
I can understand frustrations with reading the Bible. As i've mentioned before, i've wrestled w/ many of these frustrations, struggles, problems, feelings. Just when you think your all alone, you realize that when you turn on the light and are honest with yourself and with others, the room is crowded with others who have the same problem.
Enjoy the read.